Time of Turmoil: Track Introduces New Faces and Emphasizes Old Goals

Aliah Char, Copy/Photography Editor

This upcoming track and field season shows a lot of promise. Despite some concerns regarding periodic adjustments– a new head coach and team composed mainly of underclassmen– there’s also a lot of room for growth. According to Jayden Omi (12), there are “possibilities for State qualifiers” and Head Coach Stryker Lane agrees. There is no doubt that this year’s team will rise above whatever challenges they’re faced with, working diligently towards integrating skill and teamwork towards success.

Omi, who has been competing in the sport consistently for most of his high school career, is looking forward to the “growing team size”, and the benefits it holds in working towards more accomplishments. More team members mean there are more competitors representing Manitou, and consequently, more points for the team overall.

Qualifying for State has remained an unchanging goal every season, both for individual competitors and the team, and it is not unknown that the larger the team, the better the chances you have for qualifying. Coach Lane envisions the process quite linearly, saying that by the end of the year, he aims to have “run times down and distances and jump heights up.” In many ways, it really is as simple as it seems. Hard work, dedication and consistent practice have never failed to make strong and lithe track competitors with superior endurance. Lane aims to encourage all students, no matter their level, to come out, try out, and “get better at whatever events they so choose.” Along with providing effective training, he also has goals to make this season a good and fun one by bringing a supportive and welcoming atmosphere to his team.

In addition, Lane hopes to start developing a team that will carry on competing successfully in the following years. By developing future athletes, he’s ensuring the advancement of the MSHS team by increasing the skills of every individual. The longer an individual practices, the better they get, so when they carry the Manitou name at meets and compete well, the more advantageous it is to have them on the team.

He foresees the main challenge of this season to be adjusting to the loss of previous year’s head coach: Coach Zachery Brown. Brown is currently taking a leave of absence due to the arrival of his new baby and expansion of his family. However, Lane– who stepped up to fill the spot as head coach– has little doubt that track will help his students see incredible progress in whatever they wish to pursue. For Lane, it’s more personal than just a position. He calls track his outlet, saying that it never fails to, “help him relax.”

Omi, too, can attest to the benefits of Track, though this season will be slightly different for him in comparison to past. Pursuits of State qualifying times remain just out of reach for the athlete, who suffered a physical setback in the pre-season. Omi considers his goal of, “getting back to 100% strength” to be the most important since his torn ACL currently does not allow for activity. Though obviously disappointed about his complication, he’s staying positive, planning to focus a lot on, “influenc[ing] the incoming generation” while also undergoing his recovery. When Omi was on the team in previous seasons, he took note of the way track was an individualized sport in which athletes would strive for personal bests or records based on their interests. This year he looks forward to the growing number of competitors, since it means that Manitou Springs Track and Field has a chance to go to State, not just individuals from the team. He wants to, “cultivate a team mentality.” This similar mindset is in congruence with Coach Lane’s, so it can only be assumed that the incoming season will be filled with new hopes for the team.

Originally, though an ancient sport, Track has for a long while been individualized. Origins in Ancient Greece and Rome have been used to determine superiority in people for centuries, by pitting them against each other in a wide array of events like wrestling, long jump, discus throwing and various foot races. Track and Field events are the oldest type of competition to be held in the Olympics. The sports were normally conducted in conjunction with festivities such as the honoring of religions. The sporting competitions were early on deemed to be an essential part of human expression. It wasn’t until they were adopted into many military and educational institutions for their incredible athletic training that they began to become more team oriented. A product of this enlightenment was the creation of the relay race, a now important aspect of track and field competition. From the beginning, extremely detailed records and rules were maintained in order to establish fair competitions and decide winners. These regulations still exist today and continue to help encourage any athlete striving for their goals to do so in the safest and healthiest ways possible.

Both Coach Lane and Jayden Omi share similar mindsets of ambition, anticipating an exciting, triumphant season filled with a lot of growth for individuals and the team as a whole. Despite possible difficulties with a new coach, it is assured that priorities regarding fun and appreciation for the sport will remain unchanged. The team will no doubt still work hard and consistently, focusing on integrating skills and teamwork towards success. Every individual will set goals, and through striving for their best, will gain important life skills to help them progress not just in track but in any other sport. Though it’s not for everyone, those who partake in this sport find it worthy of praise. Its difficulty is often overlooked, however, as with many sports, the ease of admiring comes in little comparison to competing. After all, just how difficult is it actually, to do something many would argue has been ingrained in us biologically for millennia?